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Five people sentenced in ’98 Douglaston arson

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Four of the six people who pleaded guilty to setting a Douglaston home on fire in 1998 with an explosive they fashioned from an Internet recipe were sentenced for the crime last week and some were ordered to pay restitution to the victims.

Leonard Stein, 20, of Douglaston was sentenced Aug. 29 to one year in jail and ordered to pay $25,000 restitution by Acting Supreme Court Judge Joel Blumenfeld, and Constantin Kalloudis, 20, of Little Neck, was sentenced to five years’ probation and to paying a $25,000 fine to the victims, Queens DA spokeswoman Mary de Bourbon said.

Audrey Maroti and Demetrios Cherpelis, both 20-year-old Little Neck residents, were declared youthful offenders because of their age at the time of the fire, which means their cases are closed and not on the public record, de Bourbon said.

In an earlier sentencing, Angel Dancuart, 21, of Bayside, was given seven years in jail for his role in the incident, a spokeswoman from the Queens DA’s office said. A sixth suspect, Paul Nardozi, 24, of Little Neck, was expected to be sentenced Thursday.

Dancuart received a longer prison sentence, the DA’s office said, because he was the one who actually lit the explosive.

On May 30, 1998 the six teens drove to the 71st Avenue home in Douglaston with a homemade explosive, an M-80 firecracker taped to an aerosol can, court papers said. The group then placed the can under a front bedroom window, where it blew up and destroyed a large portion of the home, the family said in an interview with the TimesLedger last month.

One person suffered minor injuries in the blaze that caused $125,000 damage to the Douglaston home, according to the criminal complaint.

The six people were arrested and charged with arson in May 2001 after the city Fire Department got a tip from an informant about the more than three-year-old case. All six suspects pleaded guilty in the case on July 18.

The suspects were supposedly planning to bomb a different home but were chased away before they could do any damage, the criminal complaint said.

While the criminal complaint said the teens targeted the 71st Avenue home because they believed one of the residents was gay, the family, whose names the TimesLedger has decided not to release, has denied that.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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